Following are some suggestions to help you gain the experience required for your career change even while you make your transition:
Volunteer in non-profit organizations that operate in the industry that interests you. People may not be willing to hire you due to your lack of experience, but if you offer your services for free, they would be fools to refuse. As you volunteer, show your value, build contacts and try to gain an inside perspective on how things work.
Part-time consulting is another way to get the experience necessary in your new career field. Offer your services for small projects and acquire hands on experience. As you gain knowledge, you can increase the complexity of the assignments that you undertake. Start by charging lower fees and increase your rates slowly as you gain confidence in your skills set.
Schedule informal meetings with people working in the industry that interests you to seek their advice. See if people in your network work in the industry or know people in that industry. Ask for a meeting over coffee or lunch. During the meeting, keep the conversation casual. Make sure to do your research beforehand and have a list of questions you would like to ask. Thank the person for the meeting and keep in touch. As you progress in your career change, you may need that person’s help or input again.
Submit your name to agencies that specialize in placing temporary workers. Tell them about your qualifications and what you are looking for. It may be hard at first to obtain assignments, but as you do and prove yourself, things should become easier. Further, if an employer really likes your work, you may be offered a full-time position.
If you feel the need, enrol in a continuing education program in the evening. Having a formal training will:
- give you confidence;
- allow you to understand the demands of your new career;
- connect you with people with the same objective as you and create a support network; and
- allow you to access job postings from employers looking to recruit students in the program.
When looking for a program, try to focus on those that offer COOP terms. These programs offer hands-on experience where you get to work at an employer for one or more terms. This will allow you to apply what you’ve learned in a concrete work setting. Employers associated with these programs tend to recruit students from the program because they will have had a chance to work with them and know what the students are capable of. Further, the curriculum of the programs will often be tailored in function of the needs of those employers, making graduates from the programs a perfect match.
Set up a blog and make entries to show your expertise. Having a blog will promote your name online and force you to make regular updates. This will show that you are interested in the field, will force you to research in order to write informative posts and will allow you to build your expertise. Another good aspect about having a blog is that it will allow you to network with other bloggers, many of whom may actually be working in the industry that interests you. Do not take this undertaking lightly however. Maintaining a blog can be time consuming.
by John Sylo